C-SUITE

Ulta, Sephora rival taps consulting, retail veteran as new CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

The baton has been passed at Beauty Brands as it looks to enter its “next phase of growth.”

The Kansas City-based, 61-storeretailer has named Caryn Lerner as CEO, succeeding Lyn Kirby, who will remain chairman. Kirby is part of the group that bought Beauty Brands in 2014 from founder Bob Bernstein. Since then, she has served as CEO and chairman of the company, reportedly commuting between Chicago and Kansas City. Prior to Beauty Brands, Kirby served as CEO of Ulta Beauty.

"This management transition to a CEO resident in Kansas City has been our ambition since the time of our initial investment in Beauty Brands, and I am delighted that, in Caryn, we have found an experienced CEO who can lead the company through its growth phase,” said Kirby.

Beauty Brands’ new CEO, Lerner, has served as an operating partner at Palladin Capital Group since 2013, sourcing investment opportunities for the luxury, retail and consumer product categories. Her duties also included handling due diligence work ahead of investing. Prior to Palladin, she was senior retail advisor for Boston Consulting Group.

Between 2011 and 2012, Lerner served as president and CEO of Daffy’s, a New Jersey-based off-price chain. From 2004 to 2010, she served as president and CEO of Canada’s Holt Renfrew department store company.

In addition, Lerner previously held positions at Escada, U.S.A., QVC Networks, Jones New York, Barney’s and Bloomingdale’s.

“Beauty Brands is in a very strong position right now, with a loyal customer base, talented team, and high-quality offering including a wide selection of beauty products from famous brands to indie labels, together with highly attractive salon and spa services,” Lerner said. “I look forward to leveraging those advantages to bring the company into its next phase of growth.”

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FINANCE

Report: Update on Walgreens-Rite Aid deal

BY CSA STAFF

Walgreens Boots Alliance’s acquisition of Rite Aid is moving closer to getting a green light from the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC is expected to approve the sale in the next two to four weeks, reported the New York Post, citing two sources close to the situation.

The major sticking point was reportedly the number of Rite Aid stores that need to be divested to Fred’s Pharmacy.

The FTC gave “pushback” regarding the initial plan to divest 865 stores to Fred’s, but now that Walgreens and Rite Aid have agreed to divest up to 1,200 stores, as well improved the quality of stores to be divested, the FTC is much more likely to approve the deal.

As for the two-to-four-week timeframe, the Post reported Debbie Feinstein, bureau of competition director for the FTC, wants to get the deal approved before she resigns, expected to be “within weeks.”

Walgreens will pay Rite Aid shareholders between $6.50 and $7 per share once the deal closes, based upon the number of stores that need to be divested.

Fred’s Pharmacy has pledged to purchase all of the divested stores.

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Off-pricer retailer sets 2017 expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

It’s going to be a busy spring for Stein Mart.

The Florida-based chain will open five stores this spring –– the first phase of its 2017 store plan to open a total of 11 new stores. The remainder of the locations will open in the fall.

“These new stores fall within our real estate strategy to grow sales by filling existing markets where we are doing well,” said Hunt Hawkins, CEO of Stein Mart, which operates 290 stores.

The locations and currently scheduled opening dates for Stein Mart’s spring new store group are:

• Auburn, Al.: Auburn Mall – March 23

• Bainbridge Township, Ohio: Marketplace at Four Corners – March 16

• Brentwood, Tenn.: Brentwood Place – March 16

• Cincinnati: 32 East – March 30

• Marietta, Ga.: Parkside at Cobb West – March 9

In addition, Stein Mart is relocating one store from Morrisville, N.C., to a new location at Parkside Town Commons in Cary on March 30. It also is planning to close five under-performing stores during 2017.

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